The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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So…where are you going to be when the recession ends? Because it will end, you know. Not that there’ll be a specific date, like V-E Day (that’s Victory in Europe Day for you kids in the audience—May 8, 1945, when Nazi Germany surrendered, ending the European portion of World War II; also for you kids in the audience, World War II was a big, big war that happened before you were born). But at some point the economy is going to improve. So…where are you going to be?

(You: “Bill, what do you mean, ‘where am I going to be?’ Do you mean, like, will I be in Cleveland or Philadelphia?”)

(Me: “How did you even learn how to use the Internet?”)

No, this is what I mean:

Have you thought about where you want your business and your career to be when things start to look up? And, if so, what are you doing NOW to position yourself?

I make my living speaking to businesses and associations about how they can, by using the success secrets of the Beatles, increase their own success and that of their teams. Many (although not all) of the individual people I chat with before and after my presentations seem to be “mired in the present.” That is, they’re putting all their energy into just “getting through today.” They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and so they’re not planning for it. Now I admit that when you have no money in the bank and no food in the fridge, it’s hard to think beyond the present. Survival is the most basic rung on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But most of us, thankfully, aren’t in that position. We’re able to plan for the future, at least to some extent. So what are some things you can do now, while things are slow, to position yourself for success when we emerge from the tunnel? Here are a few questions to get your thoughts flowing:

  • Are you the best at what you do? If not, what can you do during this down time to become the best? More education? More practice? More training? What can you do now to make sure that you emerge from the tunnel better than the competition?
  • Are you staying visible to your customers? Are you keeping up with your marketing and advertising? Are you attending networking events? Are you writing articles, either in print or online? What can you do now to make sure that you emerge from the tunnel with “top of mind” awareness on the part of your customers?
  • Are you up-to-date in your industry? Are you using your down time to get caught up with the latest books, journals, and articles pertaining to your business? What can you do now to become a true expert in your field?

In the Beatles’ song All You Need Is Love, John Lennon sings, “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.” That’s true—but I also believe that where we’re “meant” to be is, to a large extent, up to us. It’s a function of our choices, plans, and decisions. Somebody once said, “The decisions made yesterday are responsible for the life of the company today. It’s the decisions made today that will be responsible for the life of the company tomorrow.” So where are you “meant” to be when the recession ends? You can find the answer by looking at the choices, plans, and decisions you’re making today.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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